While ‘gas giants’ from our Solar System, such as Saturn and Jupiter, have dozens of natural satellites, our Earth hasn’t been that lucky. Our planet has a single Moon, or at least that’s what we thought. Another space rock is in our planet’s orbit and will remain there for about 1,500 years.
Tony Dunn, an amateur astronomer, informs that the newly-discovered asteroid 2023 FW13 plays just about the same role as our Moon does: it revolves around our planet and will keep doing so for plenty of time.
Adrien Coffinet, who has a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics, is the scientist who noticed the strange trajectory of the asteroid in question around our planet.
Astronomers had to use the Pan-STARRS telescope from the top of the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii, in order to discover the 2023 FW13 asteroid, according to Daily Mail.
Meet newly-discovered asteroid 2023 FW13. @AdrienCoffinet noticed it is a quasi-satellite of Earth.
Astronomer, Sam Deen, located precovery images which help confirm the 1:1 resonance with Earth. This is the same type of orbit as Kamoʻoalewa (2016 HO3). https://t.co/c9EnXVooXY pic.twitter.com/BY2GEOPGzL
— Tony Dunn (@tony873004) April 4, 2023
The Solar System has a total of over 200 known moons. Jupiter is the planet holding the record for having the most moons. The gas giant has a staggering number of 79 confirmed moons. Some of the notable moons of Jupiter include Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, which are together known as the Galilean moons. These moons exhibit diverse characteristics and have been the subject of scientific study and exploration. Astronomers even suspect that alien life could exist in primitive forms on some of those natural satellites.
As for the Moon, our only official natural satellite, it has captivated human fascination for centuries. The space object is located roughly 384,400 kilometers away. It has a diameter of about 3,474 kilometers, making it the fifth-largest moon in the Solar System.
The surface of our Moon is covered in impact craters, basins, mountains, and vast plains called maria, created by ancient volcanic activity. The Moon lacks an atmosphere and experiences extreme temperature variations. In other words, there’s no use considering moving there.